Obama speech at Hampton University

Standard

Here is a small clip and a small transcript.

It is an honor to be here at Hampton University. It is a privilege to stand with so many ministers from across this country and we thank God and all His blessings for this wonderful day.

A few weeks ago, I attended a service at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the LA Riots. After a jury acquitted 4 police officers of beating Rodney King-a beating that was filmed and flashed around the world- Los Angeles erupted. I remember the sense of despair and powerlessness in watching one of America’s greatest cities engulfed in flames.

But in the middle of that desperate time, there was a miracle: a baby born with a bullet in its arm. We need to hear about these miracles in these desperate times because they are the blessings that can unite us when some in the world try to drive a wedge between our common humanity and deep,
abiding faith. And this story, too, starts with a baby.

We learned about this child from a doctor named Andy Moosa. He was working the afternoon shift on April 30 at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood as the second day of violence was exploding in the streets.

He told us about a pregnant woman who had been wearing a white dress. She was in Compton and on her way to the supermarket. Where the bullet came from nobody knew. Her sister-in-law noticed a red spot in the middle of her white dress and said that I think you’ve been shot. The bullet had gone in, but it had not exited. The doctor described the ultrasound and how he realized that the bullet was in the baby. The doctor said, “We could tell it was lodged in one of the upper limbs. We needed to get this baby out so we were in the delivery room.”

And here’s the thing: the baby looked great. Except for the swelling in the right elbow in the fleshy part, it hadn’t even fractured a bone. The bullet had lodged in the soft tissue in the muscle. By God’s grace, the baby was fine. It was breathing and crying and kicking. They removed the bullet, stitched up the baby’s arm, and everything was fine. The doctor went on to say that there’s always going to be a scar to remind that child how quickly she came into the world in very unusual circumstances.

I’ve been thinking and praying about that story. I’ve been thinking that there’s always going to be a scar there, that doesn’t go away. You take the bullet out. You stitch up the wound and 15 years later, there’s still going to be a scar.

Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

Those “quiet riots” that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better. You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home. That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, “Not guilty” — or a hurricane hits New Orleans — and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Much of what we saw on our television screens 15 years ago was Los Angeles expressing a lingering, ongoing, pervasive legacy-a tragic legacy out of the tragic history this country has never fully come to terms with. This is not to excuse the violence of bashing in a man’s head or destroying someone’s store and their life’s work. That kind of violence is inexcusable and self-defeating. It does, however, describe the reality of many communities around this country.

And it made me think about our cities and communities all around this country, how not only do we still have scars from that riot and the “quiet riots” that happen every day-but how in too many places we haven’t even taken the bullet out.

Look at what happened in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast when Katrina hit. People ask me whether I thought race was the reason the response was so slow. I said, “No. This Administration was colorblind in its incompetence.” But everyone here knows the disaster and the poverty happened long before that hurricane hit. All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day which is that there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, that don’t have meaningful opportunity, that don’t have hope and they are forgotten. This disaster was a powerful metaphor for what’s gone on for generations.

Of course, the federal response after Katrina was similar to the response after the riots in Los Angeles. People in Washington wake up and are surprised that there’s poverty in our midst, and that others were frustrated and angry. Then there are panels and there are hearings. There are commissions. There are reports. Aid dollars are approved but they can’t seem to get to the people. And then nothing really changes except the news coverage quiets down.

This isn’t to diminish the extraordinary generosity of the American people at the time. Our churches and denominations were particularly generous during this time, sending millions of dollars, thousands of volunteers and countless prayers down to the Gulf Coast.

But despite this extraordinary generosity, here we are 19 months later – or 15 years later in the case of LA — and the homes haven’t been built, the businesses haven’t returned, and those same communities are still drowning and smoldering under the same hopelessness as before the tragedy hit.

And so God is asking us today to remember that miracle of that baby. And He is asking us to take that bullet out once more.

Share your thoughts with me on this. 

55 thoughts on “Obama speech at Hampton University

  1. Shoot, SB, I was in Oakland when that Riot went down. It was known as “Verdict Day”. White folk so scared, they shut stuff down in Oakland and put people on curfew – off the streets by 9pm or get locked up by Oakland’s Finest (another No. Cal version of LAPD in terms of racist bastards).

    Dick Gregory said it best in “The Shadow I Fear” when he said, “The Black man will tear up stuff that is not his because he doesn’t own it; therefore he has no pride in it.” That’s why Brothas burned shit up in So Central – it wasn’t theirs, and when that all white jury acquitted those bigoted cops, Black people thought “What the Hell, we may as well burn shit up because everywhere we are, the shit is NOT OURS.”

    America seems to never learn from it’s past, but is hell-bound and determined to repeat it.

  2. rikyrah

    Um, where da riots at?

    You know, the foment for all the riots that Obama was harkening for, according to the AP reporter.

    I mean, I thought Black folk were seething and ready to just burn down everything, according to the AP reporter.

    I mean, can’t you see how Obama calls for us to be rioting in the streets?

    It’s so obvious……well, it was obvious to the AP reporter THAT WAS ACTUALLY THERE.

    I do wonder why, reading it, I just see NO resemblance to the story that he put out.

    Why is that, SB?

    Why is that?

  3. Hmmmm…I’d like to see Obama give this speech in New Hampshire or Iowa. Or at one of those 2,300 dollar a plate fundraisers. It would be worth the price of admission to watch the reaction.

    This country is remarkably efficient at sweeping dirt under the rug and keeping it there at all costs.

  4. Denise

    MSM coverage was pretty bias. I’m not surprised, why are y’all?

    He can sidestep some of this by taking his message directly to the people through , the “new power generation” media like YouTube, blogs, listservs, etc.

    And if you think this distortion is disturbing, imagine how unsettling the prospect of an Obama presidency will be for the old guard of the global community. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    .

  5. dblhelix

    TPJ: burn shit up because everywhere we are, the shit is NOT OURS.”

    Now see, Obama anticipated this — the speech is about SELF-destruction.

    Ernesto: ’d like to see Obama give this speech in New Hampshire or Iowa.

    Would not be a problem. For example, the Second Chance Act is named after Bush’s 2004 SoU speech — this is largely a Republican/compassionate conservative initiative. Tubbs Jones is out there somewhere quoted as saying, this is the one time I agree w/ Bush.

    Crime is no longer a hot button issue in America — safer to talk about it now. Reno starting looking at prison re-entry at the end of the Clinton administration — Bush adopted it and added faith-based initiatives.

    See, one thing about “tough on crime” — they’re just now figuring out that at some point you have to let out all of those people you locked up.

    Quoting Chuck Robb, second DLC chair:

    “It is time to shift the primary focus from white racism, the traditional enemy from without, to self-defeating patterns of behavior – the enemy within”

    Like Julian Bond, I am open to a new emphasis but agree that concerns about racism should never, never be diminished. My ongoing concern with Obama is his heavy, almost exclusive emphasis on ‘self-defeating patterns.’

    Some needed balance for example — examining & reforming the prison-industrial complex — but that might be too audacious for private interests.

    I would clarify that among college-age Black men, more Black men are in college than prison, but at a much lower ratio than White men. This opens the door to a balanced discussion.

    My ‘Obama dilemma’ is actually very simple. I did stop by a Barnes & Noble to check out his chapter on race in AoH. He relates his visit to a southern IL town where he is told that there is a “Whites-only” club. He decides to pay no mind — he’s not going to cause a ruckus and elevate this club in importance.

    But six months ago, that Steele refused to take a stand on an all-White club in MD (“not important to him”) was an election issue and cause for rejection.

    What has changed in six months? Why is it that Democrats charge that Republicans are soft on civil rights to win elections while preaching a shift in focus for Democratic candidates?

    Kind of a game here, so at the moment I’m going to worry less about presidential candidates, and try to get a better big picture on where we’re going with all this.

  6. rikyrah,

    The excerpts from the article are so mind-blowingly racist, that it took a moment to take it all in. With people like this in writing for conservative magazines, we can be certain that the social progress of the last 50 years will be seriously rolled back. If I had the inclination, I would send him a white sheet with eyeholes cut out and a Klan application.

  7. dblhelix…that speech up there is far from the typical Obama feel good pablum about boot-strap lifting. That speech reads to me like an indictment of a system that allows people to have 2,300 dollars to donate to a politician, while others go hungry. That speech would make many currently comfortable people uncomfortable.

  8. dblhelix

    Ernesto: That speech would make many currently comfortable people uncomfortable.

    They watched Katrina for a week, tut-tutted, sent in their charitable contributions and moved on.

    This speech is all about compassionate conservatism.

    Compassionate conservatives see poverty as a priority for the national agenda. The two no-no’s are attributing the lot of the poor to (1) racism, unequal justice, etc or (2) economic forces that have shaped impoverished conditions. The system/status quo is never to be criticized. Govt-sanctioned compassionate conservatism consists of offering society’s moral support, a message of personal responsibility and self-reliance, and stigmatizing “illegitimacy” (single mothers) and promoting families.

    Obama’s is an upgraded version with stimulus via govt appropriations, but at the end of the day, no jobs are guaranteed for offenders under the Second Chance Act (just to use this as an example) — we are relying on the compassion of employers.

    Let me be clear — I support this bill, particularly the drug treatment component — but it was crafted and driven by Republicans as a public safety program in light of 700K ex-offenders/yr re-entering.

    My impression from reading passages in AoH is that Obama follows the basic tenets of compassionate conservatism because “White patience is wearing thin” — or a statement along these lines. He’s not upsetting the comfortable, not by a long shot.

    The problem, from my POV, is that an injection of govt appropriations that realistically will pass political muster will not be enough for success within the constraints of compassionate conservatism.

    I should do a longer blog post on this.

  9. NMP

    “Crime is no longer a hot button issue in America — safer to talk about it now. Reno starting looking at prison re-entry at the end of the Clinton administration — Bush adopted it and added faith-based initiatives.”

    dblhelix,

    I have to respectfully disagree. Crime has and always will be a hot button issue. I would assert that it’s no longer a voting issue because most Americans are more confident in the government’s ability to deal effectively with criminals since the passage of the Clinton administration’s Omnibus Crime Bill that led to sweeping nationwide passage of draconian laws, including 3 strikes laws, tougher rape laws and so-called juvenile justice reform that has seen more juveniles tried as adults. Reading posts about the Genarlow Wilson case, it’s clear to me that no one truly understands the sweeping criminal reforms that took place during the Clinton Administration. I worked for a victims’ rights organization for 7 years, so I saw first hand how defendants’ rights and habeous corpus have been eroded without causing much ire from the traditional civil rights community. Groups like the Sentencing Project have been sounding the alarm for years, which has fallen on deaf’s ear. I sat front-row at events in which Reno and Clinton were honored by the victims’ rights community and pols like John Ashcroft for their criminal justice “reforms”.

    Genarlow and hundres like him languishing unjustly in prisons aren’t being swept-up simply by antiquated laws but rather laws that were enacted under the federal violence against women act that has made it much, much easier to convict men of sexually assault. Do you realize that there isn’t a state in this country where it is legal to have sex with an intoxicated woman? Conversely, there isn’t a state in which intoxication is an acceptable legal defense.

    Most studies, including the well-respected Justice Policy Institute, calculate that there are more Black men in prison than in college. Yes, 30% of Black male high school graduates are in college; HOWEVER; less than 45% of Black men graduate from high school. Black men constitute half, yes half, of the prison population in a country where they are less than 6% of the population. Whatever the case, 10% or 1/3 of Black men are under some sort of criminal justice supervision. By any measure, that’s an alarmingly high percentage. Couple that with the hidden unemployment rate that may be as high as 14%, it is undeniable that our men and the future of our race is in crisis. Did you read the Urban League’s much ignored 2007 State of Black America Report? That report is no less than a 5 alarm bell that WE seem to be ignoring. If you read the foreward written by Barack Obama, I think it would be difficult to make the case that he’s blaming us more than the White racism. We can argue all day whether it’s self-inflicted or a product of the vestiges of slavery and disenfranchisement or a confluence of both, but what we can’t deny something needs to be done–NOW.

  10. Katie

    I get a lot out of reading the blogs on this website and visit it periodically to try and understand the African American perspective on Obama, the candidate I have chosen to support. As you can probably guess, I am white and fit the demographic described by many critical of his campaign — liberal, middle class, educated. What I don’t consider myself is “guilty”, something that *ucker (my moniker for him) Carlson seems to enjoy calling white Obama supporters. I was raised by a psych social worker who taught me that guilt was a useless emotion but shame could be constructive in changing behavior.

    I am not guiltfree, but I don’t believe I feel guilty about the state of African-Americans in this country. This is not to say I am not greatly concerned about African-Americans — I am, and naively thought that Obama’s candidacy could only be good for the African-American community.

    If nothing else, Obama’s candidacy has allowed blacks and whites to once again have a conversation that has long been absent from American dialogues. I was greatly encouraged to see Africans and African-Americans participating in his grassroots campaign. I thought, here’s an opportunity to work together to elect an African-American.

    I sense an enormous amount of caution and/or disdain on the part of regular contributors to this blog regarding Obama. Can you all share with me your reservations about him? Is it just trust issues? Is it that he isn’t “black enough”? What is it about him that keeps you from supporting him or is it just the politician nature that you can’t get behind?

    Maybe I’m just dumb when it comes to reading between the lines here. Maybe you really support his candidacy and are shielding yourselves from too high of an expectation. I just sincerely want to know.

    And please. I’d love to hear specifics about Obama’s candidacy that you object to. I recently participated in Obama’s Walk for Change which took place all over the country and I saw a fair number of African immigrants door-knocking and fewer African-Americans. I worry about that.

    I just re-read this entry and it’s very poorly expressed, but it does come from the heart. Please excuse my tactlessness. I’ll be back tomorrow to read responses, if any.

  11. NMP

    rikyrah,

    The worse thing about that racist rhetoric is that it undercuts serious discussion about the impact mass immigration is having on US born workers, particularly African Americans, in industries that have traditionally lifted African Americans from poverty to middle class, e.g. construction and manufacturing.

  12. NMP

    Katie,

    Your post is not in the least poorly expressed, quite to the cotnrary!. As a die-hard Obama supporter, I’m not in a position to explain the skepticism you so keenly detect on this board. However, I will say that a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted for any candidate, not just Obama. My only hope is that otherwise fair-minded White folks won’t use the less than overwhelming Black support Obama has YET to enjoy as an excuse not to vote for him as I wouldn’t use Hillary Clinton’s lack of support from educated White women as an excuse not to vote for her. It certainly doesn’t make her any less famale or any less intelligent.🙂

  13. NMP

    “Obama’s is an upgraded version with stimulus via govt appropriations, but at the end of the day, no jobs are guaranteed for offenders under the Second Chance Act (just to use this as an example) — we are relying on the compassion of employers.”

    Aren’t we relying on the law? Quotas have been declared unconstitutional, so what law or case precedent would offender set asides be based?

  14. NMP

    “My ‘Obama dilemma’ is actually very simple. I did stop by a Barnes & Noble to check out his chapter on race in AoH. He relates his visit to a southern IL town where he is told that there is a “Whites-only” club. He decides to pay no mind — he’s not going to cause a ruckus and elevate this club in importance.”

    I know I’m flooding the board, but I have to get this last one in. I suspect this is one of the less than palatable compromises ALL minority candidates running state-wide have to make in order to win, including White female candidates that ignore “male only” social clubs. I guess White females, perhaps like most women, have a greater innate sense of compromise as evidenced by their tremendous gain in winning state-wide office in just a few decades? Whatever the case, many would (and have) argue that our focus on such inconsequential matters have put us in the position we are today. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of discerning compromise, but contrary to McDonald’s commercials and re-visionist historians, he wasn’t a rabid social integrationist. His prize was economic integration, but his message, especially after his assassination, was distorted which led to an almost singular focus on social integration. It’s not difficult to subscribe to the school of thought that social integration led to our decline in many respects. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn if White folks don’t want me in there club as long as they don’t interfere with me building my own. I would extend that argument to Black churches who don’t welcome gays or Mosques that don’t welcome women. Private institutions have every right to determine who they will and won’t allow. They don’t have ownership on God as White only clubs don’t have ownership on commerce.

  15. NMP

    One last, last thing. I re-read this and realized it was distorted…

    “10% or 1/3 of Black men are under some sort of criminal justice supervision.”

    It should read…

    “as high as 10% of black men are incarcerated and 1 out of 3 are under some sort of criminal justice supervision.”

    Sorry!😦

  16. rikyrah

    Your post is not in the least poorly expressed, quite to the cotnrary!. As a die-hard Obama supporter, I’m not in a position to explain the skepticism you so keenly detect on this board. However, I will say that a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted for any candidate, not just Obama.

    Katie,

    Welcome to SB.

    As I tell others, there are few ‘ haters’ on here…

    Just ‘skeptics’.

    And the ‘skeptics’ keep the ‘believers’ honest.

    I am a Black Obama supporter, and don’t apologize for it, nor does anyone ask me to apologize for supporting him.

    Please post again..always good to have new voices.

    Even ones we disagree with, it’s good to have a good argument with them.

  17. rikyrah

    What I don’t consider myself is “guilty”, something that *ucker (my moniker for him) Carlson seems to enjoy calling white Obama supporters.

    Katie,

    Pay that troll Carlson no mind.

    If the Black community was supporting Obama overwhemingly already, then he’d say, ‘ they’re ONLY supporting him because he’s Black’.

    Just watch when the gap begins to close between him and Hillary. See what he says.

  18. rikyrah

    I sense an enormous amount of caution and/or disdain on the part of regular contributors to this blog regarding Obama. Can you all share with me your reservations about him? Is it just trust issues? Is it that he isn’t “black enough”? What is it about him that keeps you from supporting him or is it just the politician nature that you can’t get behind?

    Katie,

    We’ve had discussions about this, and I’m just cutting and pasting my own responses.

    From the outset, I’ll tell you that I’m an Obama supporter. Have been since the moment he announced. I have no idealized notions about Obama, and have my own reasons for why I support his run for the Presidency.

    I will also say that I will NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton. Not ever going to happen. If I have to write in someone, I will do so. I will NEVER vote for her.

    I reiterate that the people on this site are NOT ‘haters’. They are ‘skeptics’. If you want to me to point you in the direction of sites that ‘ hate’, I can do that. But, I have found this skepticism to be quite healthy all the way around, even for me, as a supporter.

    To outline my family – my two sisters and I were on board with Obama from day one. My mother was not; she was a Hillary supporter UNTIL Obama’s speech in Selma. That speech got her to cross the aisle, and it convinced my Aunt also. My Black Nationalist Conservative Uncle was on board with Obama from day one.

    All of us have made regular donations to Obama, and he has our votes.

    Um, the ‘ Black enough’ thing is a dog that doesn’t hunt around here, because, to be honest, the ‘ Black enough’ scam wasn’t meant for Black people in the first place. It was a discussion for White folks, and when Black people refused to actively engage in it, outside of saying how ridiculous it was, then, it went the way that it should have all along. As I’ve been debating with someone in another thread, multi-racial isn’t anything new to the Black community; we had to deal with it from the first time a White Slave Master tippy-toed down to the slave quarters and began reproducing with his female slaves. The Black community has ALWAYS been multi-racial, practically from the moment it landed on these shores.

    There isn’t a Black supporter of Obama that believes his election would vanish racism in this country. I call Obama’s candidacy a ‘Racial Rorshach Test’. It’s just one long racial test, from beginning to end. I believe he runs TWO campaigns. One for the regular candidates running for President, and the one for the BLACK candidate. He can’t get around it; it’s not fair, but nobody said anything was fair about being Black in America. It is what it is, and he’s got minefields that none of the other candidates will ever have to consider.

    There is an overarching question: WILL White America vote for Barack Obama?

    As I’ve said time and time again, I don’t know the answer to the question. I only know that I WANT the answer to that question.

    THAT is what his candidacy means to me – the answer to that question.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    Thread discussions:

    I have been having a ‘discussion’ with another poster in another thread
    I have my own theories about why Obama’s message isn’t resonating as well with black women — in relation to HRC — but I need to think about it some more.

    Um, I don’t want to bring up class issues here..

    But, I don’t know one college educated Black person who intends to vote for Hillary.

    With my mother’s generation, I’m telling you, he won quite a bit of them over with the Selma speech, but some are still in Hillary’s camp.

    And, I don’t know one OLDER Black man (50+) who’s even considering voting for Hillary.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————-


    What I’m seeing out here in Texas is that many people don’t want to support Obama for two reasons.
    1. They don’t think he can win. So, they don’t want to waste time rallying behind him if it’s a losing battle.
    2. People like my mother, believe that Obama will be murdered if he gets too close to being president. I have heard numbers of people say that they don’t want to see him get killed for this. They don’t want to see Michelle be a widow, and see those beautiful little girls be fatherless. I gather that they feel like their support will contribute to his demise. (Maybe this is a dirty south thing.)

    I’ll be honest here….

    I think a chunk of Black folks can be linked to the ‘ lost cause’ thing.

    Meaning, to me, they are waiting to SEE if the White folks ACTUALLY vote for her.

    I’m sorry…but, I think that’s how it is. I don’t care what the numbers say, I think this entire thing is fluid right up until the day the ballots are cast.

    Black folk don’t want to be involved in a ‘lost cause’.

    But, I feel it, in my bones, they’re talking all skeptical about Obama, while secretly rooting for him. But, they just don’t have faith.

    It’s the same question:

    WILL White voters actually pull the lever for him? THAT is going to be the question for Obama.

    I believe, in my heart of hearts, if he wins Iowa or New Hampshire – one of 2 of the Whitest states in these United States, Black folks will go, ‘ I’ll be damned….they actually WILL vote for him…..well, ok, Brother, here you go. You made it this far; you ran the double campaign; you played by THEIR rules, and succeeded…and stayed alive…I’ll give you my vote.’

    I just think that it’s far more fluid than people will admit to.

  19. NMP

    rikyrah,

    Did you read the WaPo cover story today analyzing Hillary’s base? It’s essentially poor and uneducated women, the “waitress vote” some are calling, typically apolitical and relatively less informed on the issues. It’s interesting that so many people particularly Black people, remained convinced that Obama can’t win when he’s the ONLY Dem candidate that beats ALL Rep candidates in head-to-head match-ups. He polls extremely high among Indep’s, the critical swing vote. I don’t know if there’s a hidden racist vote in that bloc who are only telling the pollsters what they want to hear, but it’s nonetheless interesting and rather revealing that so many Dems supporting Hillary are ignoring it.

  20. rikyrah

    rikyrah,

    Did you read the WaPo cover story today analyzing Hillary’s base? It’s essentially poor and uneducated women, the “waitress vote” some are calling, typically apolitical and relatively less informed on the issues.

    They – the Clinton folk – call them ‘ Women With Needs’…what a great description.


    It’s interesting that so many people particularly Black people, remained convinced that Obama can’t win when he’s the ONLY Dem candidate that beats ALL Rep candidates in head-to-head match-ups.

    It’s interesting to me too. But, then, I guess that’s what being uneducated is all about. I don’t say that as a slam, but it is what it is.


    He polls extremely high among Indep’s, the critical swing vote. I don’t know if there’s a hidden racist vote in that bloc who are only telling the pollsters what they want to hear, but it’s nonetheless interesting and rather revealing that so many Dems supporting Hillary are ignoring it.

    See, I think the people are being honest. As I’ve said before, there MIGHT be a heullva ‘Bradley Effect’ out there waiting for Obama.

    But, it would have to be almost a tsunami size to match what the polling has already told us.

    FIFTY PERCENT of men – no matter what ethnic group, say that they will NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton.

    Nearly FIFTY PERCENT of women – say that they will NEVER vote for Hillary Clinton.

    The number keeps on rising with EVERY poll asked these questions. WHEN do people finally get that going INTO an election with a candidate that people have told you, 18 months out that they will NEVER vote for..is pure insanity.

    Plus, they simply are letting the Clinton Camp poo-poo her ‘ Red Meat’ Factor. She IS the one thing that could unite Republicans in 2008.

    NOT Obama being Black…..they wouldn’t have voted for him anyway.

    But, Hillary can unite them.

    She is the ONLY one that can hand the GOP the White House in 2008.

  21. NMP

    “I believe he runs TWO campaigns. One for the regular candidates running for President, and the one for the BLACK candidate.”

    Rikyrah,

    LOL, I don’t know why reading the above made me think of that Good Times episode when Alderman Davis was running for re-election against an honest and refreshing young upstart. Alderman Davis won because the young dude couldn’t “connect” with the community although he was better for the community. As James said, he didn’t show he could “get down” with the people. Obama should watch that episode. 🙂

  22. rikyrah

    I believe he runs TWO campaigns. One for the regular candidates running for President, and the one for the BLACK candidate.”

    Rikyrah,

    LOL, I don’t know why reading the above made me think of that Good Times episode when Alderman Davis was running for re-election against an honest and refreshing young upstart. Alderman Davis won because the young dude couldn’t “connect” with the community although he was better for the community. As James said, he didn’t show he could “get down” with the people. Obama should watch that episode.

    Quoting Good Times?

    LOL

    Hilarious. Hilarious.

    Too funny for words. But, I stick by my belief that he needs to be consistent, no matter the audience.

    Totally OT- Was listening to Tom Joyner this morning, and he had Tavis on. Tavis read off the top 9 questions from viewers that he rejected. There were some good ones. The winner of the question contest is from Bowie, Maryland. Her first name is Priscilla. If her question was half as good as some of those rejected, it should be a good one.

  23. dblhelix

    NMP: Crime has and always will be a hot button issue. I would assert that it’s no longer a voting issue because most Americans are more confident in the government’s ability to deal effectively with criminals since the passage of the Clinton administration’s Omnibus Crime Bill that led to sweeping nationwide passage of draconian laws

    I believe we are in agreement, actually, and this goes to my point. Look at the name of the bill — ‘Second Chance’ —

    Quoting Bush’s SOTU (2004):

    This year, some 600,000 inmates will be released from prison back into society. We know from long experience that if they can’t find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit crime and return to prison. So tonight, I propose a four-year, $300 million prisoner re-entry initiative to expand job training and placement services, to provide transitional housing, and to help newly released prisoners get mentoring, including from faith-based groups. (Applause.) America is the land of second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.

    It is introduced as a public safety issue and relies on the inherent forgiveness of Americans. It is reform after the fact that does not question the draconian laws that led to these circumstances in the first place.

    With respect to the JPI study:

    President Vincent Schiraldi admits that there are more college-aged African American men in college than incarcerated. College age is roughly 18 to 24, but the study researched incarcerated men ages 18 to 55 plus. Thus, because it is a larger sample group, the number of men in jail is higher than the number of men in college.

    Schiraldi says the study focused on black men of all ages because it emphasizes the financial trade-off between higher educational and penal institutions. Budgets for state colleges and corrections both come from a state’s general funds, where legislators cut one program’s appropriations to boost another’s. Expanding prison systems have gobbled up state money at the expense of funding for public higher education. Students have picked up the tab through higher tuition and fees.

    “Our comparison of prisoners to college students was to highlight state spending priorities and its impact on all African American men,” Schiraldi said. (‘More Brothers in Prison Than In College’)

    And we know that flagship educational institutions are directing the primary instruments of access and affordability to the more affluent in light of increasing costs of higher ed:

    Many of these flagship institutions have become more and more enclaves for the most privileged of their state’s young people. Even as the number of low-income and minority high school graduates in their states grows, often by leaps and bounds, these institutions are becoming disproportionately whiter and richer. (Engines of Inequality).

    NMP: We can argue all day whether it’s self-inflicted or a product of the vestiges of slavery and disenfranchisement or a confluence of both, but what we can’t deny something needs to be done–NOW

    I would say self-inflicted vs product of today’s policies that systematically discriminate as described above — and this is not immaterial to action needed now.

    NMP: Aren’t we relying on the law? Quotas have been declared unconstitutional

    Perhaps so, but some of the most lucrative wealth-building enterprises are based on de facto quota systems for old White men and protected by professional snitch systems that more often than not enable the homogeneity of membership by attributing the notable lack of diversity to the failings of would-be members.

    Is it not possible to praise and encourage Obama on his mission and vision by adding our voices on these matters? Who else, but us? If Selma is an “American” experience, a Black success to be shared with fellow Americans, can our fellow Americans not share in our failures?

    Because if not, the structures that limit progress remain in place.

  24. rikyrah

    Oh,

    FYI

    Roland Martin (CNN Contributor, WVON-AM Chicago), is interviewing Barack Obama for TV-ONE, folks. It’s happening Thursday.

    He’s interested in any questions you might have.

    So, you can email him at the following places with ‘Questions for Obama’ in the subject line.

    roland@wvon.com

    roland@rolandsmartin.com

  25. dblhelix: “The system/status quo is never to be criticized.”

    I see a critique of the system in that speech, particularly here:

    Much of what we saw on our television screens 15 years ago was Los Angeles expressing a lingering, ongoing, pervasive legacy-a tragic legacy out of the tragic history this country has never fully come to terms with.

    here:

    there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, that don’t have meaningful opportunity,

    and here:

    People in Washington wake up and are surprised that there’s poverty in our midst…And then nothing really changes except the news coverage quiets down.

    …here we are 19 months later – or 15 years later in the case of LA — and the homes haven’t been built, the businesses haven’t returned, and those same communities are still drowning and smoldering under the same hopelessness as before the tragedy hit.
    ——————————-

    Forget for a moment that he’s not offering a real solution to the problem, and just be amazed that he’s actually speaking of it.😉

  26. Katie

    Thank you all, for responding to my entry. It was heartening to hear so much support for Obama and disconcerting to me that I misread so much of what I have read here. You are all correct in that skepticism is paramount WITH ANY POLITICIAN.

    I do believe you are also correct about the “black enough” argument as being put forth by the *ucker Carlsons of the world. I never used to pay any attention whatsoever to the these assholes until I started volunteering for Obama. Then I found myself hanging on every word because I realized this is what my 87 year old aunt is watching. She might actually vote for him. However, I know a fair number of white folks who are currently supporting Edwards for the simple reason, ill-conceived, I believe, that he has a better chance of winning than Obama. I don’t really understand this as all of the polling data say otherwise, but I am also convinced that once Obama gets the nomination, they will be on board with him.

    I think you are all also correct about the reluctance of black voters to actively support him at this point. Too much disappointment over too long a period of time. They are just not prepared to be disappointed again. What this says to me as a grassroots volunteer is that this is the community we must activate. But how to go about it? As a white organizer, I’m leery about going into working class and poor black communities to tell them how to vote (obviously, I would approach it as tenderly as possible, but still tricky). Thoughts?

    Thank you all for your encouragement to continue posting on this site. You are correct that honest dialogue, skeptical, argumentative or otherwise, goes a long way to further our understanding of each other as humans.

    Sorry about the sap! It’s part of my nature.

  27. Denise

    Katie:

    I appreciate your question and I’ll do my best to answer it as honestly as it is posed 🙂

    First and foremost, I am troubled by Senator Obama’s limited political experience. I would personally feel comfortable with a more seasoned pol at the helm. The argument that he could be no worse than who we currently have does not resonate with me; I didn’t vote for Dubya either.

    Second, the Senator’s campaign seems a little too caught up in what whites think, all too often at the expense of black people or black traditions. His timid response to the Don Imus controversy to MSNBC and the timing of his announcement during a televised black leadership forum are just two examples. I’ve read about other slights and alleged misrepresentations that suggest a pattern. Enough said.

    Finally, I am familiar with the dynamics of race AND class in Washington politics. I also know a thing or two about how those factors shape ambition. But for me, being black is not personal or political “baggage”. Anyone feeding into that notion does not represent me.

    I’ll close with this: when someone shows you who they are, I’ve learned to believe them the first time.

    Hope that answers your question. Welcome to SB. I look forward to your input. Buckle your seatbelt 🙂

  28. Denise

    I hope this post doesn’t get eaten again…

    Katie:

    I appreciate your question and I’ll do my best to answer it as honestly as it is posed 🙂

    First and foremost, I am troubled by Senator Obama’s lack of broad political experience. I would personally feel comfortable with a more seasoned pol at the helm. The argument that he could be no worse than who we currently have does not resonate with me; I didn’t vote for Dubya either.

    Second, the Senator’s campaign seems a little too caught up in what whites think, all too often at the expense of black people or black traditions. His timid response to the Don Imus controversy to MSNBC and the timing of his announcement during a televised black leadership forum are just two examples. I’ve read about other slights and alleged misrepresentations that suggest a pattern. Enough said.

    Finally, I am familiar with the dynamics of race AND class in Washington politics. I also know a thing or two about how those factors shape ambition. But for me, being black is not personal or political “baggage”. Anyone feeding into that notion does not represent me.

    I’ll close with this: when someone shows you who they are, I’ve learned to believe them the first time.

    Hope that answers your question. Welcome to SB. I look forward to your input. Buckle your seatbelt 🙂

  29. Denise

    Katie:

    I appreciate your question and I’ll do my best to answer it as honestly as it is posed 🙂

    First and foremost, I am troubled by Senator Obama’s limited political experience. I would personally feel comfortable with a more seasoned pol at the helm. The argument that he could be no worse than who we currently have does not resonate with me; I didn’t vote for Dubya either.

    Second, the Senator’s campaign seems a little too caught up in what whites think, all too often at the expense of black people or black traditions. His timid response to the Don Imus controversy to MSNBC and the timing of his announcement during a televised black leadership forum are just two examples. I’ve read about other slights and alleged misrepresentations that suggest a pattern. Enough said.

    Finally, I am familiar with the dynamics of race AND class in Washington politics. I also know a thing or two about how those factors shape ambition. But for me, being black is not personal or political “baggage”. Anyone feeding into that notion does not represent me.

    I’ll close with this thought: when someone shows you who they are, I’ve learned to believe them the first time.

    Hope that answers your question. Welcome to SB. I look forward to your input. And remember, buckle your seatbelt 🙂

  30. NMP

    “Is it not possible to praise and encourage Obama on his mission and vision by adding our voices on these matters?”

    ABSOLUTELY and your’s especially! However, we should not allow semantics or methodology to diminish the crisis at hand. I still maintain a 50% prison population, 33% criminal justice supervision, 55% high school drip out rate and 14% unemployment rate is a collective crisis by any measure. I enjoin your indictment of the system; however, I can’t ignore OUR contributory neglect. And I’m more interested in what we are going to do save ourselves and the future of the race than waiting for White folks to have a collective attack of conscious. YES, a debt is owed, but we shouldn’t be mortgaging our future on it.

  31. rikyrah

    I’m more interested in what we are going to do save ourselves and the future of the race than waiting for White folks to have a collective attack of conscious. YES, a debt is owed, but we shouldn’t be mortgaging our future on it.

    Internal vs. External Reparations….

    If we took care of the internal reparations, we’d be so much stronger in going after external reparations.

  32. Rick

    “If we took care of the internal reparations…”

    Rikyrah, can you please elaborate? 🙂

    (already knowing you got somethin good coming!)

  33. NMP

    Dblhelix,

    I think we would all agree that you are best equipped to respond to Katies’s request for suggestions on political outreach in the community.

  34. rikyrah

    “If we took care of the internal reparations…”

    Rikyrah, can you please elaborate?

    The concept of internal reparations was something brought up by one of my favorite talk radio hosts. He’s been on this point for years, that if we took care of internal reparations, that we would be, as a community, so much stronger in trying to go after external reparations.

    See, when you have 800 BILLION dollars at your disposal, there’s just no way that anyone can convince me that we’re poor.

    We need internal reparations when….

    You’re driving on the road in a fully decked out (insert car name), but you’re PAYING RENT….

    We need internal reparations when……

    We give respect to the Ultimate Sellouts, known as the Modern Day Minstrel Show – Hip Hop, with such names as Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Fiddy Cent, while they betray the community by participating without abandon in the global dehumanization of us as a people, all the while, getting their 300 pieces of silver. One of the biggest hustles ever perpetrated is that these Ultimate House Negroes have deluded people into believing that they were actually in the Field.

    We need internal reparations when….

    Some Sister hooks up with a Brother with 3 kids, which he’s not paying for, and proceeds to have child #4 with him…

    We need internal reparations when….

    One DIME of the Gates Millenium Scholars money goes untapped….

    We need internal reparations when….

    I can listen on the radio to one of the foremost scholars on Black Males in this country talk about how his mentoring program had to be discontinued for the summer, because mothers are letting their sons TELL THEM why they would rather be in the streets, than in the mentoring program…AND THE MOTHERS ARE LISTENING TO THEM.

    We need internal reparations when….

    Your child has a TV, VCR, DVD, STEREO, TELEPHONE, COMPUTER in their room, and you have the nerve to wonder why you don’t have any control over your children.

    We need internal reparations when…..

    Another Black Man, trying to do the right thing, has set up a fully comprehensive mentor program – went out, found the money, got the curriculum all set; got everything worked out with the schools – and he’s BEGGING FOR BLACK MEN TO COME AND BE MENTORS for our children.

    We need internal reparations when…..

    We continue to eat a slave’s diet, without doing a slave’s labor, and wonder why our bodies aren’t cooperating. The majority of illness is NOT connected to genetics; it’s diet and exercise. WE have control over both, and are choosing to eat ourselves into early graves, and are leading our children down the same path.

    We need internal reparations when…..

    We continue to waste the resources at our fingertips, in terms of education. You know that’s one of my personal issues. One of the saddest days in my life was when I, involved in a school switch, with one of the richest public schools in my state, stood there, in that shiny building, with all the bells and whistles, and realized that, even if I had the exact same building, and extras, that there would be only a select group of children that would even appreciate it. But, that the vast majority would not appreciate it, or take advantage of it, and that comes from HOME.

    One television piece that has stuck with me from the moment I saw it on CNN. It was about a New York City public school in Chinatown. They interviewed a Black family who had moved to Brooklyn, but sent their child into Manhattan, to Chinatown, for school. They also interviewed a Chinese executive. Well educated women, obvious professional making six figures. She said something that I’ll never forget. She said that, of course, she and her husband could send their child to a private school, but they didn’t worry about sending their child to Chinatown, with the sons and daughters of people who were dishwashers, maids, busboys, because she knew that she and her husband, and those parents, shared the SAME VALUE FOR EDUCATION. That they were ON THE SAME PAGE, and their children would come to school with the same instructions as to how they were to act, and what they were to learn.

    We need internal reparations when….

    We continue to allow our daughters, nieces, and sisters to be preyed upon by older men. Look at the stats, folks, most of our teenage mothers are NOT being impregnated by teenaged boys.

    We need internal reparations when….

    You have a church on practically every corner in Black America, yet they are not as involved as they should be spreading the word on THE most threatening health crisis in the Black Community: HIV/AIDS. The Black woman, who is the backbone of the Black Church, is also now the face of HIV…THIS PREVENTABLE DISEASE should be Priority #1 for the Black Church.

    Well, you get the picture. I’ve been Black everyday of my life, so I’m not in the mood to have someone tell me it’s hard being Black in America. There’s just things that we are not doing for ourselves that we should be doing.

    PS-I hope our friend Marcus is reading…LOL

  35. Marcus

    Rikyrah,
    Your internal reparations argument is spot on. (And I hope I should not feel offended, but it feels like you guys might be ganging up on me) 🙂
    But, I agree that the problems in the Black communities have to be addressed at HOME first. I addressed this in a post a week ago that never was responded to, but this is what I stated.
    “When are you going to ask African-Americans to look in the mirror first…are YOU doing everything you can to raise your children in a FAMILY? Are you keeping them off the streets….are you commanding good grades in school. You will find these demands in almost all white families. Why should those values only be COMMON in white families? When will people wake up and realize that your problems are not solved by simply blaming someone else. How many generations does it take before you realize that apparently…white people are not the ONLY problem you have. If you took white people completely out of the U.S….do you really think things would be any different in most black communities??” Why are the youth more impressed with the careers of 50 Cent and Ludacris, instead of doctors, lawyers(questionable), teachers…you get the point.
    Why do you hear stories of Black kids being ridiculed by other Black kids when they make good grades in school or speak with proper grammar? How is that a bad thing?
    And the last time I checked, there are not too many successful Black businessmen that walk around with their pants hanging down below there butts or that have baby pacifiers in their mouth(which I just saw a teenage boy with on Tuesday). These types of behaviors could be addressed by the efforts of the mentoring programs that nobody is showing up for!
    “You’d rather look good and lose, than look bad and win” – White Men Can’t Jump….says it all. It has got to stop.

  36. Rick

    “Why are the youth more impressed with the careers of 50 Cent and Ludacris, instead of doctors, lawyers, teachers…”

    Because maybe some of us are too busy speaking DOWN to them and not relating to youth in ways that they can understand.

    It’s called…”tuning out”

  37. NMP

    Marcus,

    Welcome back! As I said to Political Junkie, we may not all agree (and what would be the fun in that), but this blog promotes high-minded discourse and debate, so please don’t feel discouraged from freely expressing yourself and certainly don’t self-censor for acceptance. We all family!🙂

  38. rikyrah

    “Why are the youth more impressed with the careers of 50 Cent and Ludacris, instead of doctors, lawyers, teachers…”

    Because maybe some of us are too busy speaking DOWN to them and not relating to youth in ways that they can understand.

    It’s called…”tuning out”

    Rick,

    I sort of disagree. I don’t think we’re talking at all to them. Somewhere along the line, we stopped telling them the truth. Our parents told us the truth – ‘how to get over’. But, I’m involved with a group of girls, and I swear, they tell me that I’m the only adult in their lives telling them what I tell them. We left a vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum, and in walked gangster rap/hip hop culture.

  39. Rick

    Rikyrah-

    I’m speaking of the “BILL COSBY” types who mean very well and have the best intentions…

    I’m speaking of (some) of the (few) folks who actually DO show up for the mentoring sessions etc…but aren’t as effective in their communications because they come across as angry step-fathers who know everything. I sometimes remind my (equally concerned) brothers that in such sessions, we have to be willing to listen, as well as talk, if we want to be effective reaching the youth. In other words: relating.

    When we do talk, yes, we have to speak the truth. But we must speak the truth, with love.

    It’s the love, rikyrah. That’s all I am saying. I used to say “Go Bill Cosby go. ” Then I got involved on the front lines of the battle — just like you — only in a different jurisdiction🙂 I had to change my way of thinking, speaking, listening because I wasn’t connecting. If we listen to “our” kids (instead of “those kids”), we’d actually find out they have intelligent things to say. Anyone who uses “those” kids right away tells me that there may be a potential problem relating – despite the utmost benign intentions.

    We need to start moving beyond good intentions and towards increased effectiveness. Love is the starting and ending point.

  40. rikyrah

    It’s the love, rikyrah. That’s all I am saying. I used to say “Go Bill Cosby go. ” Then I got involved on the front lines of the battle — just like you — only in a different jurisdiction I had to change my way of thinking, speaking, listening because I wasn’t connecting. If we listen to “our” kids (instead of “those kids”), we’d actually find out they have intelligent things to say. Anyone who uses “those” kids right away tells me that there may be a potential problem relating – despite the utmost benign intentions.

    You’re right about the love. I’m soft spoken, in person. So, when I raise my voice, folks just stare at me, because they know I must be serious.🙂

    But, you’re right, though. You can tell the harshest truths with a quiet voice, and children won’t get defensive with you. They want to, because it’s almost reflexive, them being able to spar verbally. Calm and steady stuns them, at first.

  41. Rick

    “They want to, because it’s almost reflexive, them being able to spar verbally.

    and for some, spar physically. they get much of this training already from parents telling them, “you ain’t *Ish”. And so these same kids are supposed to listen to so-called “mentors” who basically relay the same message subliminally? and THEN we wonder why some of us are not achieving the effects we want when we talk to our youth??? Puuuhllleeeze. No respect for them, means no respect for you.

    Rikyrah, those young ladies are lucky to have you. the “bill cosby types” might take a closer look at how they are coming across.

Comments are closed.